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Racial Discrimination, Racial Socialization, and Crime: Understanding Mechanisms of Resilience

NCJ Number
Date Published
August 2017
25 pages
Since recent research demonstrates that familial racial socialization provides resilience to the criminogenic effects of interpersonal racial discrimination among Black youth, the current study builds on these nascent findings, in taking a process-oriented approach to understanding how racial socialization reduces and counteracts the effects of discrimination on offending.
Building on a social schematic theory of offending (Burt and Simons 2011), this study examined whether two social psychological factors, positive racial identities and spirituality, serve as mechanisms through which racial socialization provides resilience. Hypotheses were tested with structural equation models, using data from the Family and Community Health Study (FACHS), a longitudinal, multisite study of approximately 700 African-American youth and their primary caregivers followed from late childhood to early adulthood. Consistent with the project’s theoretical model, findings suggest that familial racial socialization practices provide resilience to the criminogenic effects of racial discrimination in large part by increasing positive racial identities and spirituality. Implications of these findings and directions for future research are discussed. (Publisher abstract modified)
Date Published: August 1, 2017